Jairam Exhorts a New Strategy for Rural Infrastructure

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Basic infrastructure development is very poor in north and eastern India, Rural Dev Min Jairam Ramesh said while suggesting that time had come for revisiting strategy of both the Centre and the states for rural areas.

"Right now the big challenge for us is North India and Eastern India. The nature of demand is… people want schools, people want hospitals and clearly power supply. There is also problem of availability of banks and post offices. Basic infrastructure is very very poor in North India," Ramesh said after visiting Naxal-affected district of Rohtas in Bihar on Sunday.

The Minister, who reviewed developmental initiatives in the district, said that the healthcare system had completely collapsed in rural India particularly in Naxal affected districts.

Officials who briefed him about the issues in the tribal areas said that cases of leprosy and TB had been reported from these areas and the government had taken necessary steps to provide medical assistance to the affected people.

"In the Naxal affected areas even the teachers don't go to schools. There is a need for a larger developmental and coordinated push. For example Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyudtikaran Yojana seems to have been a failure in most part of the country. We have to revisit our strategy for rural India," Ramesh said on Sunday.

"The reason why outh Indian states have been able to take off because of better connectivity, better roads, better banking facilities and also there have been better administration," the Minister said.

Ramesh said that the Naxal situation in Bihar was not as serious or as dangerous as in Odisha, Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh.

"The nature of Naxal problem in Bihar is more linked with caste related issues and less to do with forest or tribal issues. However, there are some parts of Bihar that are very sensitive like Jamui. So we need some sort of a focussed efforts in these regions," Ramesh said.

Noting that 30 years ago, Rohtas was a very sensitive area and a hotbed of Naxal violence, Ramesh said recently security forces had a tremendous success.

"We must use of this opportunity to bringing about focussed developmental interventions so that people would not lose faith in the civil administration," he said.

"I am focussing mainly on rural development interventions. Government of India and Government of Bihar have to think of larger issues education, health. Health particularly," the Minister said after meeting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and discussing the issues with him.

"Basic developmental issues have to be really resolved," he said.

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